If you're like many modern homeowners, you sometimes find yourself worrying about wildfire activity endangering your family and perhaps even damaging or destroying your home. This feeling is completely understandable, particularly if you live in an area that's been impacted by increasing wildfire activity in recent years. Wildfires are started in a variety of ways, such as people lighting off fireworks, careless disposal of smoking materials, lightning strikes, out-of-control campfires, and even the exhaust systems on vehicles igniting dry grass and brush when the driver pulls over to the side of the road or otherwise drives in an area where dried out vegetative matter is present. Although there is little the average homeowner can do to prevent other people from inadvertently starting wildfires, you're not completely helpless here — there are things you can do to maximize your family's safety and minimize the chances of your home sustaining serious damage in the event your residence is caught in the path of a wildfire.
Following are three smart strategies designed to help protect your home and family from dangerous wildfires.
Keep Your Gutters Clean
Although it may be tempting to go ahead and leave dried-up leaves, conifer needles, and other vegetative debris in the gutters just for a few days when rain isn't in the forecast, this practice provides potential fuel for wildfires. Keep in mind that a significant amount of wildfire damage done to homes and other structures is caused by an initial airborne spark, making roofs especially vulnerable to catching fire. Use a simple handheld tool to keep your gutters clear in between regularly scheduled cleanings. While you're clearing out your gutters, be sure to remove any stray debris on the rooftop itself and make certain that your yard, particularly in areas close to the house, is free of leaf or brush piles.
Keep Tree Branches Trimmed
Tree branches that overhang your roof pose a serious fire danger, so keep them trimmed back as far as possible, and never allow them to actually touch your roof. If you have a wood-burning appliance in your home, make sure that all branches are trimmed back at least 10 feet from it. Keep in mind that conifers burn more easily than their deciduous counterparts because its sap is highly flammable, so consider removing conifer trees and shrubs that are within 30 or so feet from your home exterior, especially if you live in an area that's seen an increase in wildfire activity in the past few years. It's also a good idea to make certain that your individual trees and shrubs are trimmed back enough so they aren't touching one another — keeping them at least 10 feet apart helps stop the spread of fire.
Use Fire-Resistant Roofing Materials
Although nothing is completely fireproof, some materials are more resistant to fire than others. Roofing materials are given fire ratings of A, B, or C, with A being the highest possible rating and C being the lowest rating. Unrated materials pose the greatest danger of quickly igniting. Examples of Class A materials include clay and concrete tiles, metal shingles, rubber, and composite shingles made from fiberglass and asphalt. Class B roofing materials include wooden shingles and shakes that have been treated with fire-retardant chemicals. Class C designation is reserved for untreated wood shakes and shingles as well as plywood and particleboard. Materials that are unrated usually aren't allowed per municipal and county building codes in almost all parts of the country. Naturally, you'll want to talk with your roofing contractor, such as Shamrock Roofing Services, about the best choice for your particular situation and location.
Do you know how to tell if you have problems with your flashing, loose shingles, or damaged tar pitch? Well, I didn't either until I experienced some of those issues on my own. One day, I realized that my roof was leaking and that I needed to find a solution fast. After contacting a professional roofing company, they were able to solve my troubles and teach me the signs of trouble. I want you to avoid the same types of hassles, which is why my blog is filled to the brim with information about roofing and home ownership. You never know, these tips could really come in handy!